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Fed Govt lags on online crime protection

Fed Govt lags on online crime protection

The Federal Government has no federal laws to prevent cyber crimes such as last week's denial of service raids against several Internet businesses, according to the National Advisory Committee.

The FBI is currently investigating the raids which targeted US sites such as Yahoo, Buy.com, CNN.com, ZDNet, the ETrade Group and eBay. The attacks are believed to have cost the industry around $US1.2 billion.

Justice minister Amanda Vanstone released a discussion paper on the weekend which outlines proposals to introduce Federal laws against Internet crime.

The Model Criminal Code Discussion paper, which Vanstone released early last week, outlines proposals to introduce federal laws against Internet crime.

There are currently no federal laws preventing online crime, according to Model Criminal Code officers' committee spokesman Geoff McDonald. The committee is a joint Commonwealth and State criminal advisory board comprised of lawyers and law advisors.

McDonald said the purpose of the paper was to encourage state and Federal governments to agree on a consolidated federal Internet crime-specific law.

McDonald said existing laws regarding hacking, Web sabotage and fraud currently differed from state to state. He said state hacker laws about "getting inside someone's computer and doing damage" had been introduced 10 years ago.

"They all did it slightly differently, with different emphases in different states," he said. "It was quite disparate."

McDonald said the proposed laws would incorporate all types of Web-related assault. Attacks resulting in a computer's inability to receive or send e-mail, as well as Internet "stalking" would be included in the proposed laws, he said. McDonald said, under the proposed laws, even failed attempts at Internet-related felony would be treated as serious crimes.

According to the paper, punishments for committing serious offences with the use of a computer should be the same as if without.

The 312 page document can be found at http://law.gov.au/publications/Model_Criminal_Code/index.htm. The committee will receive submissions until the end of March.


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